Podcast Systems

Part
01
of six
Part
01

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Libsyn and Spreaker

Libsyn's lower-end version is known as Classic 50 while its other professional versions are Classic 250, Advanced 400, and Advanced 800. On the other hand, Spreaker has professional plans, such as On-Air Talent, Broadcaster, and Anchorman. Detailed information regarding the key differences in these plans has been provided in the attached spreadsheet.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

  • One notable difference between Libsyn's Classic 50 and its other higher-end versions is in the storage space. The Classic 50 offers 50mb of storage space while Classic 250 offers 250mb. Also, the Advanced 400 offers 400mb, and Advanced 800 has 800mb.
  • Advanced 400 and Advanced 800 provide opt-in features of MyLibsyn Premium Paywall. Conversely, Classic 50 and Classic 250 do not have this option.
  • Spreaker's On-Air Talent is a plan that goes for $6 per month if billed yearly and $7 if billed monthly. The features offered include programmatic monetization, up to 45 minutes for every live podcast, customizable RSS feeds, and 100-hour audio storage.
  • Spreaker's Broadcaster plan goes for $18 per month if billed annually and $20 if billed monthly. The features include programmatic monetization, customizable RSS feeds, advanced statistics, up to 3 hours for every live podcast, and 500-hour audio storage.
  • Spreaker's Anchorman plan goes for $45 per month if billed yearly or $50 per month if billed annually. The key features include full statistics, programmatic monetization, up to 5 hours for every live podcast, customizable RSS feeds, and 1,500-hour audio storage.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

While we found most of the information, we could not find the ratings and reviews for the different plans offered by Libsyn and Spreaker. We first attempted to look at app stores such as Google Play and App Store for direct reviews from customers. However, these sites only provided reviews and ratings of the services in general without any insights on the different plans offered by the two companies.

We then attempted to look at what professional review sites said about the various plans by Libsyn and Spreaker. We looked at sites, such as The Podcast Host, Software Findr, and Podcast Insights but to no avail. Instead, these sites focused on general features offered by the two services with no insights on their respective plans.

As a last resort, we attempted to look at podcast conferences and events, such as NYCPodFest, Podfest Multimedia Expo, and British Podcast Awards. We hoped that we could gain insights on the different plans offered by Libsyn and Spreaker. However, our search proved to be futile because these events only focused on individual podcasts and not hosting companies. For the above reasons, we assumed that the ratings and reviews of the different plans offered by Libsyn and Spreaker are not available in the public domain.


Part
02
of six
Part
02

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Soundcloud and Audioboom

All the required information concerning SoundCloud and Audioboom has been entered into the spreadsheet here.

1. SoundCloud

  • SoundCloud basic is free while SoundCloud Pro is €5.25/month and SoundCloud pro unlimited is €8.25/month.

Basic

  • SoundCloud basic has only 3 features which include 3 hours of upload time, basic embed controls, and access to basic stats.

Pro and Unlimited Pro

  • SoundCloud Pro goes a step further and provides 6 hours of upload time and advanced stats that include top listeners and top countries. It also has advanced embed controls that include a mini embed player.
  • Both Pro and Pro Unlimited give access to SoundCloud premium if one eligible. This feature allows users to monetize unlimited tracks on SoundCloud and distribute one release to all major music services. In addition, it allows one to replace tracks without losing stats, pin up to 5 tracks on the top of their profile, and a quiet mode that allows one to turn off public stats and comments.
  • A glaring difference between the two is that SoundCloud Unlimited Pro has unlimited upload time and provides full stats that include top cities play by websites, RSS apps, and third-party apps. It also has full embed controls that turn off comments, recommendations, and overlays. This will be in addition to all basic and advanced stats features.
  • Lastly, Pro Unlimited has scheduled releases that allows one to schedule when their tracks go live.

Reviews and Rating

  • SoundCloud has a 2.5/5 star rating on Trust Pilot.
  • However, an editor at PCmag reviewed it and gave it a 3.5 rating saying it is a good app.
  • The product has also been rated 3.5 by verified users on Amazon.
  • SoundCloud has a rating of 4 on SensorTower.

2. Audioboom

  • Audioboom has two plans — Podcasters cost $9.99 per month and Podcast Pro's cost has not been disclosed.

Podcasters

  • The Podcasters plan allows one to upload unlimited episodes per month and share them via Apple podcasts, iHearRadio, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
  • Furthermore, it allows upto 10,000 plays on the standard plan or 25,000 plays on the Plus Plan.
  • It also provides embeddable plays for a website and social media integration.
  • It has advanced analytics with breakdowns by app, device, and geographic region.

Podcast Pro Features

  • Podcast Pro has all the basic features of Podcasters Plan but it additionally allows unlimited plays per episode.
  • Other features include live reads and host endorsement from all the top podcasts, event and live show sponsorship, access to Audioboom’s targeted ad-network, and branded content partnership opportunities.
  • Additionally, one can monetize instantly through the websites targeted ad-network premium sales service. Also, one can use the midroll ad-insertion tool to optimize revenue.
  • Lastly, Podcast Pro allows one to manage multiple podcast channels via contributor accounts.

Ratings and Reviews

  • Audioboom has received a 3.5/5 rating on Amazon.
  • An editor at Software Finder rated the app 3 saying that it has great features but its support is limited to email and it is expensive.
  • Audioboom has a rating of 4 on SensorTower.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Simplecast and Podbean

Simplecast basic version cost $15/month, Essential version cost $35/month, and Growth version cost $85/month. Podbean basic version cost $0 per month (always free), Podbean unlimited audio version cost $9 per month when billed annually, or $14 monthly. Podbean unlimited plus cost $29 per month when billed annually, or $39 when billed monthly while Podbean business version cost $99 per month when billed annually, or $129 when billed monthly. Additional information on Podbean and Simplecast are in the attached spreadsheet.

1. COST OF SIMPLECAST VERSIONS

2. FEATURES THAT APPLY TO ALL SIMPLECAST VERSIONS (BASIC, ESSENTIAL AND GROWTH)

  • All Simplecast versions have the following features: Trial available, unlimited storage space, unlimited uploads, distribution to all platforms, listener analytics & reports, themed show website, secure RSS feed.
  • More features s available to all Simplecast versions are: Read-only API access, standard web player, secure site (https), color customization, Google analytics & Facebook pixel, custom domain (yoursite.com), sharing clip length (90s max), download & share, analytics overview, show & individual episode reports, top episodes, top listening apps, top countries, geographic heatmap, most popular time of day, total recasts shared — coming soon, unique listeners from the last 7 days.

3. FEATURES UNIQUE TO SIMPLECAST BASIC VERSION

4. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIMPLECAST BASIC AND SIMPLECAST ESSENTIAL VERSION

  • The Simplecast Essential version has all the general Simplecast features listed in heading 2 above.
  • In addition, Simple cast Essential has the following features which Simplecast basic version does not have: Mini player, show player, color customization, oEmbed sharing, tracking analytics — coming soon, audience insights — new, customizable download charts, popular day/time matrix, detailed apps & browsers, unique listener reports, web player insights, episode retention, listening speed, player streams and starts, recast insights — coming soon, top share points, and Heatwave™ reports.

5. FEATURES UNIQUE TO SIMPLECAST ESSENTIAL VERSION

6. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIMPLE CAST GROWTH VS ESSENTIAL & BASIC VERSIONS

  • The Simplecast Growth version has all features that apply to all versions listed in header 2 above.
  • The Simplecast Growth Version also has all features that are not included in Basic but included in Simplecast Essential version listed in header 4 above.
  • The features unique to Simplecast Growth version are: Internet providers & listening locations, embed locations & referrers, Sharing locations & referrers, Per episode reports.
  • Other features specific to Simplecast Growth version include: 8 additional team members, 3 custom pages — coming soon, 4 compare episodes, Interactive location map (plus cities & metro areas), device types (+ device details), internet providers & listening locations, embed locations & referrers, sharing locations & referrers, per episode reports, and 125,000 included downloads per month

7. SIMPLECAST CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND RATINGS

8. COST OF PODBEAN VERSIONS

9. FEATURES THAT APPLY TO ALL PODBEAN VERSIONS

  • The features available to all versions of Podbean (basic, unlimited audio, unlimited plus, and business versions) are: iPhone/Android app, embeddable players, your own podcast site, and RSS feed & iTunes support.

10. FEATURES UNIQUE TO PODBEAN BASIC VERSION

  • The features specific to Podbean basic version are 5 hours storage space, 100GB Monthly Bandwidth, Beautiful Podcast Themes (Free Themes), and Comprehensive Podcast Stats (Basic).

11. FEATURES IN PODBEAN UNLIMITED AUDIO BUT NOT IN BASIC VERSION

  • The features in Podbean unlimited version but not in the basic version are: map your own domain, Ads marketplace, premium sales, storage space (unlimited), bandwidth (unmetered), and beautiful podcast themes (pro themes).

12. FEATURES SPECIFIC TO PODBEAN UNLIMITED AUDIO

13. FEATURES IN PODBEAN UNLIMITED PLUS VERSION

  • Podbean unlimited plus version has all the features under header 9 that apply to all Podbean versions.
  • Podbean unlimited plus also has all the features listed in header 11 that apply to Podbean unlimited audio.
  • Additionally, Podbean unlimited plus have the following features: supports video, custom design (full), Patron Program, PodAds — The SaaS for podcast advertising,

14. FEATURES IN PODBEAN BUSINESS VERSION

  • Podbean business version has all the features listed under header 13 that apply to Podbean unlimited plus.
  • Additionally, Podbean business version has the following unique features not found in any other Podbean version: multiple podcast channels (two included), multiple admins (two included), private podcast with SSO authentication, remove Podbean branding, live chat support, engagement Intel, and white label apps.

15. PODBEAN CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND RATINGS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The study reviewed Simplecast and Podbean websites for key differences across basic and higher-end versions of Simplecast and Podbean. The research strategy also investigated the user reviews and ratings published by the various companies. The difference between various versions were identified from the version and pricing pages. However, no information was uncovered specific to user reviews. Research to uncover per brand/specific version ratings also failed to reveal helpful information. An investigation for the negative and favorable comments about the versions/products are not published by Simplecast and Podbean.

The research also included software review websites such as TrustRadius, Capterra, Trustpilot, etc., for features, customer reviews, ratings, and pricing of Simplecast and Podbean versions. The study investigated brand and version-specific rating information. Rating information related to Simplecast and Podbean is not on the various software review websites. Another investigation for negative, positive, favorable, or analytical mentions of Simplecast and Podbean versions on TrustRadius, Capterra, Trustpilot, etc., failed to reveal any helpful information.

The study also researched the social media platforms of Simplecast and Podbean such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., for their various brand and version-specific user ratings and reviews. The brands on social media did not publish version-specific evaluations. The study also researched the thumbs up (likes) and thumbs down (dislikes) associated with the various brands. Insights revealed the number of likes and followers of Simplecast and Podbean on social media.

Further, the study reviewed Podbean podcast hosting and review resources such as WhoIsHostingThis, etc. An investigation for the review of Simplecast and Podbean revealed that only one customer had reviewed Podbean. Unfortunately, the user review rating is not available to the public. Research for negative comments on the various brands did not reveal any helpful insights.
Part
04
of six
Part
04

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Buzzsprout and Transistor

Buzzsprout and Transistor are both top players in providing platforms and support services for podcasts. These companies offer the same features for all paid subscribers. These companies are detailed below and included in the spreadsheet here.

BUZZSPROUT

  • The features do not vary for the paid plans, and all of the paid versions include podcast statistics, a podcast website, custom embed players, entry in podcast directories, and 250GB bandwidth per month.
  • The primary key difference between the versions are the number of hours that the subscriber can upload audio. The $12,$18, and $24 plans allow for 3,6, and 12 hours of audio uploads per month, with additional hours available for purchase at $4, $3, and $2 per hour respectively. The free version does not allow for extra hours to be purchased.
  • The free version differs from the other versions in that it includes ads, episodes are only hosted for 90 days, and have a strict limitation on only uploading 2 hours every month. In contrast, the paid versions host episodes indefinitely, allows free importation of podcast, unlimited storage, and are ad-free.
  • If a subscriber starts hitting more than 40,000 episode plays per month, than they will be switched to the Buzzsprout Pro Plan which bills at $49 per month and offers 1 TB of data transfer. This is given to be for those on the way to becoming a "world-renowned" podcast celebrity. Anything that exceeds 1TB is billed at $50 per TB.
  • Buzzsprout stands out over competitors for the support and assistance they offer, easy to use platform, and transcription services. Their features such as easy embedding, and transcription services are a unique offering of the company.
  • Buzzsprout is rated by many to be the best podcast hosting platform and is also noted to be the best and top free platform showing that even without using paid services the platform offers a premium service.
REVIEWS

TRANSISTOR

  • Features for the starter version, $19 per month, 10,000 downloads per month, includes unlimited number of podcasts and episodes, and includes up to 2 team members. The professional version, at $49 per month, includes up to 5 team members and increases downloads to 50,000 per month. The business version, $99 per month, allows for ten team members and 150,000 downloads per month. Their annual plans only offer a discount in price and not in the any of the other requirements.
  • There is not a free version but they do allow for a 14-day free trial for any version.
  • Reviews give that the platform is easy to use and that it looks good. There are no reviews that compare the versions with each other.
  • The company also boasts that the platform is built for those trying to build their brand and grow their audience and includes big players like Kickstarter and Cards Against Humanity.

STRATEGY

Buzzsprout offers the same features for all of its paid versions and only differs in the number of hours a subscriber can upload per month and the price they pay per hour for additional uploads. Therefore, there will be no difference in reviews of each version, so we used reviews about the features that come with the paid versions to determine how they differ from other companies.
Similarly, Transistor does not differ in the features that it offers and it also does not offer a free version. All that increases with the level of subscription is the amount of downloads per month and number of team members. We included information gathered from reviews comparing the platform to others in place as it gives some information about how all versions differ from other companies.

Part
05
of six
Part
05

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Captivate and Castos

Castos's podcasts plan range from $19-$47 per month. Captivate offers three podcast plans, which range from $19-$99 per month. The requested information is provided in the attached document, rows 18 and 19, column I and L

CASTOS

DIFFERENCES IN FEATURES AND PRICING
  • Starter plan provides features such as unlimited storage, unlimited episodes, one-click import for your existing content, personalized podcast website, in-depth listener analytics, automated episode transcriptions, premium podcasting subscriptions, and audio podcast hosting. The price of the plan is $19 per month.
  • Out of all the features provided by Castos, the starter plan does not include video podcast hosting and video republishing to YouTube.
  • The growth plan includes all the features from the starter plan and also video republishing to YouTube. The price of the growth plan is $34 per month.
  • The pro plan includes all the features from the starter plan and also video podcast hosting for the users. The price of the pro plan is $47 per month.
  • The difference between the growth plan and the pro plan is that while the growth plan provides video republishing to YouTube, the pro plan doesn’t provide this feature. When it comes to the pro plan, it provides video podcast hosting features, but the growth plan doesn’t provide this feature.
  • There are no other plans except for these three plans. Castos doesn't offer free plans, but they do offer a 14-day trial for the existing plans.

REVIEWS
  • According to reviews, the starter plan only allows its user to podcast audio content without any additional features.
  • The growth plan allows users to republish their content to Youtube with podcast art. Once this feature is set up, Castos automatically publishes content to YouTube for its users.
  • The pro plan allows users to record their podcasts natively in a video environment. Castors provide the first two months free for users who purchase the pro plan a year in advance.

CAPTIVATE

DIFFERENCES IN FEATURES AND PRICING
  • All three podcast plans provide the same features which are advanced analytics, unlimited podcasts, includes podcast player, free show importing, lead generation, automatic podcast website, unlimited team members, and podcast marketing. Since all three plans provide the same features, there is no difference in the packages when it comes to features.
  • The price of the audio influencer plan is $49 per month and offers 50,000 downloads per month.
  • The price of the podcast brand plan is $99 per month and offers 120,000 downloads per month.
  • There are no other plans except for these three plans. Captivate doesn't offer free plans, but they do offer a 7-day trial for the existing plans.

REVIEWS
  • According to reviews, all three plans are up to the same level since they provide the same features.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

While we found most of the information, we could not find the ratings for the different plans offered by Captivate and Castos. We first attempted to look at app stores such as Google Play and App Store for direct ratings and comments from customers. However, these sites only provided reviews and ratings of the services in general without any insights on the different plans offered by the two companies.

We then attempted to look at what professional review sites said about the various plans by Captivate and Castos. We looked at sites, such as The Podcast Host, Software Finder, and Podcast Insights, but no information was available. Instead, these sites focused on general features offered by the two services with no insights on their respective plans.

As a last resort, we attempted to look at podcast conferences and events, such as NYCPodFest, Podfest Multimedia Expo, and British Podcast Awards. We hoped that we could gain insights into the different plans offered by the two companies. However, our search proved to be futile because these events only focused on individual podcasts and not hosting companies. For the above reasons, we assumed that the ratings for the different plans offered by Captivate and Castos are not available in the public domain.

Part
06
of six
Part
06

Pro or Enterprise Podcasting Products - Podomatic

Podomatic has five product categories: basic, pro, pro plus, pro platinum, and broadcaster. The cheaper products received positive reviews. However, higher tier products had poor reviews due to poor user experiences. The research insights were presented in row 20 and in column I of the attached document.

BASIC PODOMATIC

PRO PODOMATIC

  • The Pro Podomatic version is offered at $8.32 per month annual plan ($99.84 annually).
  • It features 100 GB bandwidth per month with 2 GB storage.
  • Users looked forward to upgrading to this version because of its features.

PRO PLUS PODOMATIC

PRO PLATINUM PODOMATIC

BROADCASTER PODOMATIC

Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Single sound file sizes are limited to 4GB and upload time per track is limited to 6 hours and 45 minutes. You have 30 days to try out a Pro or Pro Unlimited plan risk free. We’ll charge your account right away for the Pro/Pro Unlimited subscription but you will receive your money back automatically if you cancel within the first 30 days. 30-day money back guarantee is only valid the first time you upgrade to Pro or Pro Unlimited. You can cancel at any time. Give a Pro plan. It’s the perfect gift for your favorite creators of music & audio."
Quotes
  • "Soundcloud SUCKS!!!! I canceled my subscription because their music is very limited. I spent hours and hours creating a playlist and overnight it was completely gone. There is no contact info, instead they send you on a wild goose chase continuously revisiting the same unhelpful pages."
  • "Sold app that deliveries when I need… Solid app that deliveries when I need it. Essential on a drive. The ads do get annoying sometimes but expected."
Quotes
  • "SoundCloud's consumer and professional sides make it truly unique in the streaming audio space. As a result, this review examines SoundCloud from those two very differing perspectives. Neither portion is exceptional, but the two adequate parts elevate SoundCloud as whole into a streaming audio service that's worth your time."
Quotes
  • "This app is so amazing. You can even listen to the music without wifi.Now i don't have to search for anymore apps because this is the best and it doesn't have any glitches or anything."
  • "I tried it out after it downloaded it and it said "create and account or login". I had never had it before so I clicked the "Create an account" I entered my age, email, password, gender -- everything it asked and clicked "Make me an account" and no matter what I did it would not create me an account. Trashing it right now!"
Quotes
  • "I am a news reporter and use this app out in the field. It is impossible to post a picture with my articles using my tablet. It works fine back in the office on my desk computer. This app will take you through all the steps to add a picture to my upload, but then it never appears. Using this app through my tablet is also more complicated than from the 'full' version on my desktop computer. So, while I can get my audio uploaded, it takes longer and doesn't allow for the visual I want to accompany the story."
  • "Will not allow me to login. Useless app"
Quotes
  • "This makes it also ideal for broadcaster, publisher or radio station. All-in-all, the platform can be used by an individual who is starting his podcast career or an established broadcaster who is looking for ways to improve their network. platform advertiser, podcasters and listeners."
Quotes
  • "Even if I download a podcast, it stops playing halfway through then skips to an old podcast. This happens multiple times on my hour commute. Borderline unusable"
  • "Love the variety of podcasts available, been using for over a year now and have had no problems or complaints, if you like comedy check out Russell Brand, I personally am a huge murder mystery geek and love Up and Vanished and Casefile"
Quotes
  • "Amazing experience!! Best app for ur daily relaxation....amazing graphics....amazing work....just love it!!...if u haven't tried yet...u are missing out!go and smash that install button...GOOO!!!"
  • "Here is no option about changing or delete soundcloud profile picture in andriod.. 🚫💔 "